So I was reading an article today and I was distracted by this ad for a VPS server going for $4.95 per month. Now bear in mind this wasn't shared hosting which I have also seen for around $1 per month in several places but a full blown Virtual Private Server. It got me thinking whether or not it will be worth it to buy servers now for "serving" anything or if in just a couple of years everything will be running on mainfaimes just like yesteryear. Retrooooo to the 1950s?
When you think about it, before the IBM XT nobody usually thought they could afford a computer even for their office let alone their home and businesses always grabbed those big mainframes and had dumb terminals running to the big bad boy in a metal cupboard. Today these cheap VPSes are becoming more and more like the dumbterms of yesteryear; while you may be sitting at an intelligent PC you are still just remote connecting to the processing power of the VPS cloud and you might as well just be typing at a dumb console in many cases. Those of you who shell remotely know what I mean.
Now consider a few other seemingly random trends such as "google desktop" and "microsoft remote drive" and fast forward into the future where it seems plausible that all your storage and processing might be done outside your office or dwelling with all that control in someone else's hands. In return for that control the user might just get their VPS for free, financed by advertising and the sale of marketing data. Right now $4.95 is as good as it gets and it's without advertising.